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Army Changing Dog Tags to Drop Soldier's Social Security Number

Image: Army Changing Dog Tags to Drop Soldier's Social Security Number

A dead U.S. soldier's dog tags hang from a weapon during a memorial ceremony for him in Afghanistan in 2010. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

By    |   Monday, 14 Dec 2015 08:41 AM

The Army is changing the dog tag, the personal identification medallion issued to all U.S. soldiers for more than four decades, to carry randomly-generated 10-digit numbers instead of Social Security numbers.

The change comes after the Department of Defense suggested reducing the use of soldiers' Social Security numbers, said an Army news release. The move is one way to protect personally identifiable information, said Michael Klemowski, the soldiers programs branch chief of the U.S. Army human resources command.

"This change is not something where soldiers need to run out and get new tags made," said Klemowski. "We are focusing first on the personnel who are going to deploy. If a soldier is going to deploy, they are the first ones that need to have the new ID tags."

The Army Times said the service branch first detailed plans to reduce the use of Social Security numbers way back in 2007. Since then there have been several data breaches that have exposed personal information of millions of service members, government employees and veterans.

In July, the Office of Personnel Management revealed that Social Security numbers, family information, health records and fingerprints of millions of military personnel, along with 21.5 million federal employees, had been stolen in a massive data hack in June.

"Identity theft is a very real threat for us right now, and so many people are not aware that our information is easily accessed," said Staff Sgt. Kristen Duus of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

"By removing socials from ID tags, one more step is being taken to protect ourselves and our identities," said Duus.

Klemowski said the Army has had to retool several systems that use Social Security numbers as identification.


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The Army is changing the dog tag, the personal identification medallion issued to all U.S. soldiers for more than four decades, to carry randomly-generated 10-digit numbers instead of Social Security numbers.
army, dog tags, social security number
309
2015-41-14
Monday, 14 Dec 2015 08:41 AM
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